Have you ever been listening to a song on your laptop and wish that the bass had a little more presence? Maybe that those cymbals didn’t sound so harsh and trashy? Maybe the whole song just sounds weird through your laptop speakers.

Every set of speakers has a unique frequency response. That means that they may leave out some of the low end, or cut off some of the high end sounds. Their sound production is unequal overall.

This is where EQUALIZATION comes in. Equalization is essentially the process of controlling the volume of individual frequencies (also called “bands”).

Equalizers come in all shapes and sizes, however the one that you will probably be using the most is either in your car stereo or built-in to your computer’s media software.

For this post, I will use the built-in equalizer from Apple’s ubiquitous iTunes. It is easy to find in the menu at the top of the screen: Window > Equalizer

This array of sliders, besides looking sleek and pretty, is also a powerful tool in sculpting the sounds coming out of your speakers.

Let’s start on the left and move to the right. In terms of frequencies, you’ve probably already guessed that the lower the number, the lower the pitch that we will be working with.

Say you want to pump the bass drum on your favorite dance tune. We can skip the 32 hz. Your speakers might not even be able to produce that low of a tone. Give 64 hz a little boost, and then even more to 125 hz. You should notice the low end rumble start to become more prominent. You can also boost 4 khz a little bit to make the bass drum less “muddy” sounding.

Are the “s” sounds in the singer’s voice irritating you? Maybe the cymbals are a bit harsh on your ears. Let’s start by reducing 8 khz. Play with it until it sounds good without getting too dull. If their voice is still bugging you, drop 2 khz and increase 500 hz to increase “fullness” and make it a little smoother.

These are just a couple of examples of what equalization can fix. Try taking each slider and dragging it all the way down, then all the way to the top. As you go through the entire spectrum, you will gain a feel for how each frequency fits into the overall sound.

You can also play with the presets that iTunes already has stored, with names like Classical and Pop. The problem with these is that every song in a given genre has been recorded and mixed differently. Eventually you will be able to adapt any song to your liking.

Some people like more bass, some people like more smooth midrange. With EQ (short for equalization) on your side, you are in control of what you hear.

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